There are few musical genres as American as country. With roots in blues, folk and gospel, the style has emerged as a powerful force in popular music. From local emerging artists to legendary storytellers, this edition of Mass Mix is all about country music. Our local luminaries are sharing a list of songs they have been playing on repeat.

Country Music, the latest documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, explores the genre's history and evolution. The film will premiere on September 15 on WGBH 2.

Lula Wiles, “Love Gone Wrong”

The "broutro." It's what local folk trio Lula Wiles calls their stunning ending to What Will We Do's already spectacular opener. "Love Gone Wrong" begins with verses gentle enough to mimic a difficult conversation between lovers. Then, the chorus flies into a cathartic confession of disillusion. Of course, the band accompanies the whole affair with their trademark harmonies, evocative electric guitar, and Mali Obomsawin's excellent work on bass. But just when the song's comforting familiarity comes on, they slow the tempo down, drone the guitar, and unleash vocal harmonies that could make a Benedictine monk blush. The song retains its Americana texture while boldly extending ideas of what traditional country should and sound like. There are not many songs that do that nowadays that don't include a hip-hop beat and a horse. -David Paradela, Staff Writer, Sound of Boston

Jade Bird, "Lottery"

I went to Newport Folk Festival this year for the first time with the expectation of seeing the few artists I want to see and hanging out the rest of the time. Little did I know, it would turn out to be one of the best festivals I'd ever attended! I spent time between the must-sees (Sheryl Crow, the collaboration set, Maggie Rogers, etc) by stopping by the smaller tents to discover some other incredible artists (The Highwomen, Molly Tuttle, Jupiter & Okwess). I did some research before heading to Fort Adams, and listened to a LOT of Jade Bird. I became instantly obsessed, and her song "Lottery" really stuck with me. It's a catchy as heck quasi-love song about how love is a game and pure luck, and after listening to it, I can't tell if it's supposed to make me believe in love or think we're doomed! Regardless, it'll get stuck in your head nonstop. -Christine Varriale, Editor-in-Chief, Allston Pudding

Garth Brooks, “Low Places”

There are numerous country songs that find their way into my musical rotation, several by the legendary Kenny Rogers. "You picked a fine time to leeeeeeeeave me, Lucille." Comical aside: when I was about 8, I thought the next line was "400 children and a crop in the field," instead of the actual lyric, "four hungry children..." Waylon Jennings also brings me back to the good ol’ boys of Hazzard County. But there is one song that will never be skipped, always played on high volume, and accompanied by vocals from yours truly. And that is “Low Places” by Garth Brooks…"where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away." -Chris Rattey, Director,

My Morning Jacket, "The Bear"

Once upon a time, My Morning Jacket was a country outfit. I first heard Jim James' reverb-drenched yawp on a Darla Records sampler in 1999; by the end of that year, I had their debut album The Tennessee Fire in hand and was in love. Their brand of country was decidedly lo-fi, with heartfelt harmonies and heartbreakin' twang. Over the years, the band has moved away from that early sound, evolving into a more straightforward rock entity with jam-band tendencies. But it's The Tennessee Fire that keeps me coming back. Lucky for me, Darla just released a 20th anniversary edition with a whole bunch of unreleased material. So if you'll excuse me, I have a Fire to tend to. -Adam 12, Midday Host, ROCK 92.9

The Avett Brothers, “Clay Pigeons (Blaze Foley cover)”

Sometimes another art form can help you discover new music, and so was the case when I saw Blaze, Ethan Hawke’s 2018 film about country singer/songwriter Blaze Foley. Despite his untimely death, Foley left a huge impact on country music. His songs have been covered by legends like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and John Prine. After seeing the movie, I discovered the Avett Brothers' cover of his “Clay Pigeons” and I couldn’t get it out of my head. It's a beautifully simple song, a little slice of Americana, and the group's harmonies make it mesmerizing. We not may be in a "place where people say y'all," but this song will get you close. -Meghan Smith, Digital Producer, WGBH

Caroline Gray, “The Gate”

Caroline Gray, who also performs under the alias C Gray, has been a driving force in the local country circuit for a few years now. Her most recent EP titled The Gate shows her diversity within the genre which ranges from traditional country to pop-inspired songs. However, Gray saves her best for last with the ending title track “The Gate.” This powerful ballad, co-written with local Nashville transplant Jacy Dawn, combines Gray’s song writing abilities with a crescendo of soft vocals into belting lyrics. What makes this song particularly intimate to the listener is the lack of accompanying instruments typically found throughout Gray’s songs. “The Gate” primarily features only Grays’ vocals and guitar work, proving that sometimes the simplest constructs are often the most effective. -Joel Gray, Editor-in-Chief, The Lowell Spin

Zac Brown Band, “Chicken Fried”

It’s pop-y, it’s cliché, it’s overplayed, but I don’t care. “You know I like my chicken fried/ Cold beer on a Friday night/ A pair of jeans that fit just right…” is exactly what the doctor ordered if you’re craving the perfect weekend vibes. Sidenote: If you’ve never seen Zac Brown Band perform in concert, this Mass Mix contributor highly recommends sneaking over to Fenway this weekend. Grab a Sam Adams and a basket of crispy ballpark tenders while you’re at it! -Zack Waldman, Digital Social Producer, WGBH

Jobi Riccio, "Hangin' the Moon"

I never really listened to country, until I lived on the same floor as Jobi Riccio, freshman year at Berklee in 2016. Riccio puts a modern touch on old country-style songs; I’ve seen her make the most country-adverse listeners feel something, and that’s undeniably special. She's had a big year—performing at a sold-out Club Passim, The Sinclair, and Chicago’s Country Lakeshake—and is one of those artists who can make you laugh, cry, and reflect within a three minute song. "Hangin' The Moon" is the second song on Riccio's EP, Strawberry Wine," released in early February. The song draws you in with a pedal steel that floats over a longing acoustic guitar and the strumming of a mandolin. Joined by fellow Berklee student Josie Toney on the fiddle, this ensemble creates a very full, but lonely sonic landscape. Riccio's voice carries it and her lyrics break your heart: "You told me I lit every star in your sky, but she was still hanging your moon." -Arielle Tindel, A&R Coordinator, Sound of Boston

The Highwaymen, "The Road Goes On Forever"

When I was ten, my parents took me to see The Highwaymen, a country super-group that brought together Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson – each singularly talented and independently famous. It was hugely impressive to see this group perform together, covering their iconic songs and performing new ones. Or it would have been, had I not slept through most of the concert. While I only woke up to hear a handful of songs, the experience left an indelible impression on me. To this day, little brings me as much joy as listening to “The Road Goes on Forever,” as I careen down 93. And if you throw in Nelson’s “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” Cash’s “Out Among The Stars,” Jennings “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” and Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night?” Well, you’ve got a damn good playlist. -Andrea Wolanin, Digital Producer, WGBH

Lula Wiles, "Hometown"

Maine native trio Lula Wiles' second album What Will We Do launched into the world at the start of 2019 with driving melodies and striking harmonies. One of the standouts, "Hometown," is a prime example of what this band does best. Lead by Eleanor Buckland, the song sets the scene of an idealistic hometown. However, the idyllic gets balanced out as the song plays on with imagery of poverty, back road dirt deals and this crowning show stopper of a phrase: "It's a heavy world on a rusted chain/ Pulling hard to make the pendulum swing/ But it doesn’t swing back and it never will/ If we’re putting our trust in a broke-down dream." "Hometown" is a classic example of what country and folk music do best: shine a light on darker, heavier times so that we feel understood and less alone. -Cindy Howes, Marketing/Promo Manager, 88.9FM WERS

Dillard and Clark, "Train Leaves Here This This Mornin'"

My good friend Nick Branigan put Gene Clark back in my mind recently, and well, this might be my favorite record of his. This particular song has summer cruisin' written all over it. That, and/or porch sittin' and sippin'. I'll take all of the above right about now. I've chosen this song, sure, and it is very true that I cannot get it out of my head, but in the honest truth I cannot get this whole record out of my head. I haven't been able to since I first heard it long ago. There's a reason it's considered apex country rock by a world beyond me. -Dan Shea, Editor-In-Chief,; DJ for Jesus Drinks Free on Sept. 5

Kacey Musgraves, “Follow Your Arrow”

It’s been over five years since Kacey Musgraves started kickin’ up dust in the country music world with a controversial little anthem about embracing your true self. “Follow Your Arrow,” co-written by openly gay country artists Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, was born from catchy riffs, playful lyrics like “Make lots of noise/ Kiss lots of boys/ Kiss lots of girls/ If that’s something you’re into,” and an overdue need to refresh the social identity of the genre. The song was met with mixed reviews. Conservatives saw it as an attack on their beliefs and demanded it be blacklisted from mainstream country radio. But after it went on to win Song of the Year at the 2014 Country Music Awards, and a spot on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time list, it became a sign of the cultural shift happening in the world of country music. So, give it a listen…"or don’t.” -Stacy Buchanan, Senior Digital Producer, WGBH